It doesn’t matter our label or what we choose to call ourselves, but those of us who truly believe in personal freedom and responsibility – and live our lives in this way are rarely going to be victims. Sure, there are exceptions – we may at times be overcome by brute force, but anyone who thinks they’re going to rape, mutilate, or murder us will find that they’re going to have to have brute force on their side . . . ’cause we’re not going to make it easy for them to accomplish their nefarious aims.
We’re fully aware that life doesn’t happen TO us, but that things which happen in our lives are a direct result of the choices and decisions we’ve made. One of the things that has always been quietly prevalent throughout my life which makes it difficult for me to be a victim is what I call “scenarios”.
My first memory of this concept was around the time I was 12 years old. One of our neighbors who was remodeling his home was renting a house closer in to town while he made the renovations. His step-son, who was a couple years younger than I – got home one day from school to find that his step-dad dead – killed by a bullet from one of his own guns. It took years before they found the perpetrator, but I still remember vividly the call my mother got that afternoon. She was crying hysterically, and it took a bit for me to get out of her what had happened – naturally, I was afraid something had happened to my own father.
The repercussions for our family were that while my dad had had guns before (.22 rifle, shotgun) my dad acquired a .357 magnum, and immediately made sure that my mom and I knew how to handle it. Dad had given me a Daisy Red Ryder a couple years before, and I enjoyed playing with it, but this was a whole different ball game. I didn’t really like the loudness, but I was proud of the fact that I was a pretty darned good shot. At any rate, back in those days, we NEVER went anywhere without our gun along – and if my folks ever left me at home, dad would remind me “where my equalizer” was and give me a quick refresher. I think I only ever had to get the gun out one time as I answered the door (we lived out in the country and had no “peep hole”) and it turned out to be a friend, but I answered the door with the gun held out of sight in my hand as I’d been taught.
My point is, in order to teach me how to handle the gun and situations that could arise, my dad introduced to me the concept of scenarios. He didn’t call it that, but that’s what it was. He put into my mind the ideas of things that could happen and asked me to come up with how I should handle those situations. A few years later, as I became a driver and took my much younger sister out to movies and things, I would run through scenarios on my own to try to prepare myself mentally should we be accosted somewhere by someone who wanted to carjack or abduct us, and a few years later, I worked for our sheriff’s department (as a secretary in CID) and learned first hand some of the consequences of not being prepared for the worst. I took classes given through the department on self-preservation and rape prevention, but I think one of the greatest teachers I had was that of the crime reports that I typed and things I learned from them.
For a long time, I thought that I was the only one who ran “scenarios” in my mind. Then, when I met my husband, I would notice sometimes that as we were driving along somewhere, I’d look over at him and see him with his jaw set and a “don’t you mess with me” expression in his eye. Since there was nothing that I had seen to precede this behavior, and I knew he wasn’t angry with me, I finally asked him one day “what are you thinking?” when he explained to me that something that he’d seen in passing triggered his going into a daydream about a scenario and what he would do if he encountered it, I think I knew then that I’d met my prince.
Before we married, my home was broken into one day while I was at work. I arrived home, went to check the answering machine, and to my horror, it was gone. I can’t imagine that any thief today would bother with an answering machine, hehehe – but it was no laughing matter at the time. It took probably a full minute for the impact to sink in – for me to realize that my jewelry box was lying upside down on the bed, that a pillowcase was taken from the bed, etc. It was fairly obvious that my arrival home had probably scared the thief away – my VCR had been partially pulled out but not removed and screens were slit in both my kitchen window and a back door. All these years later, I still remember vividly how violated and angry I felt that some stranger had entered MY home and taken MY personal property. I felt deeply the lack of control and the powerlessness to stop what I’d not known was happening, but I quickly took action to insure that no more harm be done. I was a victim I suppose, in the the strictest sense of the word, but I wasn’t going to lie down and be victimized further.
As soon as I realized what had happened, I retrieved the small handgun that I’d had hidden and made a tour of the house – looking under the beds and in every closet, gun in hand. I then made two calls – one to my fiance and the other to the Sheriff’s department. Fortunately for me, hubby-to-be arrived first finding me standing in my driveway, gun in hand. He convinced me that it would be best to put that away and not mention it.
As sad as that was, I’m sure he was right. At that time, laws concerning handguns were more strict in Florida than they are now, and my gun could very well have been confiscated. It wasn’t, and for many years after, I carried it with me in my vehicle wherever I went. Like my dad before me, I resolved never to be caught unawares.
Things are a little different now – I’m home most of the time with my daughters – but I noticed that Daisy has brought back the “Red Ryder” again and they’re selling at our local Wal-Mart. Maybe it’s time I buy one for my gals – I’m definitely NOT raising them to become victims.